Month: October 2014


pink pearls

I hate admitting this, but it’s been a stressful couple of days…weeks…months, actually. Nick and I have have been gnawed to the bone by the demands of our move. We have almost nothing left to give.

This poem is for him, and for our dear friends who are running a marathon of equal difficulty.


won’t you celebrate with me
what we have shaped into
a kind of life?
what did we see except ourselves?
we made it up
here on this bridge
clay and moonbeams
our hands holding tight
come celebrate with me
that something is
budding anew
if we crack the shell
we will find the pearl

Photo by Bill Dickenson, used with permission.

95 to Infinity

Hellbent on backcountry skiing, brothers Mike & Andy Traslin have been earning their turns every month of the year for the last 95 months in a row. That’s nearly 8 years of skiing! They admit to enduring some Type II fun in pursuit of their passion, but otherwise it seems like it’s been more positive than negative.

Everyone needs to watch this video for two reasons. First: the cinematography. The filmmakers show us how impressive and effective a drone can be at capturing incredible footage. Some of the glacier shots are remarkable!

Second: it’ll get you thinking about what it takes to succeed at your BHAG. To ski this much and this consistently, I’m sure they had to cut out all other distractions.

“I’m too busy” was never an excuse.

Some of my friends joke that they do a lot of things at the 5.9 level – better than a rank beginner, but not an expert by any stretch. We can totally live like this, but to do something truly amazing, I think we have to focus on that one thing. It will be hard to accomplish much if we’re also doing Crossfit and riding our mountain bike and going to barbecues every night and having a family and a job and a new car and a perfect lawn and and and.

Being awesome requires deciding what’s important, and then doing that. Relentlessly.

I’m not saying that enjoying distractions and being sort of good at what you want to pursue is bad. This is just a reality check that to be great at something or do something really hard takes a different kind of dedication than we usually apply to our lives.

As Mike says in the video, “It’s always worth it.”


Strength Training for Cross Country Skiing – Week 3

When I first started training for the ski season a few weeks ago, a friend said she didn’t like to workout at the gym. Boo! The above video of David Lawerence’s obstacle course is for her. (I’d love to say that I watched this all the way through to get ideas for training, but … um … those abs … ’nuff said.) If anyone builds this awesome obstacle course nearby, I’ll come work out with you!

In the mean time, here is my plan for week three. A couple notes:

First, you’ll notice that we are switching back to the same exercises we did in week one, but increasing the reps from 15 to 20. Most people would say that’s too many, but cross country skiing is an endurance sport, so we need to balance strength with endurance.  With the increased reps, you only have to do 2 sets. We’ll work back up to three in the next cycle, but for now we’ll do just two.

Second, if the glute bridge is too easy for you, try doing them one leg at a time or while balancing your feet on a Swiss ball. For the side plank, if you did them on your knees the first week, do it with straight legs this week.

I also added box jumps to the beginning of the workout to help develop explosive power. It is really easy to injure yourself doing box jumps, so please take some time to review how to do them properly. Toni Gentilcore put together an excellent tutorial (with videos) on proper technique and how to avoid common mistakes that could lead to torn Achilles tendons and ACLs. Ouch!

Finally, I changed up the hip hinges to full dead lifts. This is another exercise where form is king. Continue doing hip hinges from week one, if you don’t feel strong enough to do the full lift with good form.

Weight Reps Sets
Warm Up
Bird Dog BW 20 2
Glute Bridge BW 20 2
Side Plank BW 40 sec. 2
Rest – 45 seconds between sets
Box Jumps BW 8 2
Dead lifts  * 20 2
Step Ups  * 20 2
Dumbell pull-overs  * 20 2
Pushups BW 20 2
Seated Rows  * 20 2
Shoulder Press  * 20 2
Rest – 45 seconds between sets
Cool Down
Cat-camel 30 sec.
Downward Dog 30 sec.
Cobra 30 sec.
Kneeling Hip Flexor 30 sec.


BW = body weight

* = Use enough weight so the last two repetitions are difficult–to-challenging. If the last repetition is not difficult, the muscles will not be sufficiently challenged.

On the eve of my high school reunion

I like to pretend that I’m pretty unflappable. Life is just life, and if we don’t focus on the drama, it goes along pretty smoothly. Except that sometimes there’s often this undercurrent of emotion that shines through cracks my otherwise calm demeanor.

My 20-year high school reunion is this weekend. I’m actually pretty excited about it, considering I didn’t go to my 10 and remember only a small percentage of my 400+ graduating class.


Last night, however, I had several dreams about it. The one I remembered when I woke up this morning involved me deciding to take the LSAT again. It wasn’t entirely clear why I was doing this, because I’ve already graduated from law school, but there was some pressing need for a new test score.

I walked into the testing room, which wasn’t a big hall filled with sweaty-palmed students facing down their future life prospects. It was just me, in a small room about the size of an exam room at your veterinarian’s office – complete with the tall exam tables. The test proctor was one of my school classmates. He was someone I spent several hours a day with from 7th grade onwards in honors English, history, and math classes…maybe others.

We got to talking about the reunion and how he wasn’t going to go, even though he only lives a few miles away from the party. I was disappointed because of all the people I went to high school with the people in my honors classes are some of the people I most want to catch up with.

I started the test. The questions were printed on large posters on the wall. And they were weird. When I got to the question asking me to define a 4×4 driving technique called the “alpine crusher,” I asked this former classmate what the deal was.

He admitted that if I was willing to accept a 120 LSAT score, he could enter that score without me having to finish the test. We could then go get a drink. Since I couldn’t remember why I was taking the LSAT, it seemed like a good idea.

Then the alarm went off…